How a Walking Horse was inspected at National Celebration 2012. Photo: Jim Davis.

Soring: Prosecutors say horse protection law lacks teeth

Soring prosecutor hits law, warns horse owners, traders

by PAM SOHN

Cross-posted from the Chattanooga Times Free Press

How a Walking Horse was inspected at National Celebration 2012. Photo: Jim Davis.
How a Walking Horse was inspected for soring at National Celebration 2012. Photo: Jim Davis. This image was not filed with the source report.

Public clamor over a recommendation of probation for the man caught by hidden camera beating a Tennessee walking horse has led federal prosecutors to file a 16-page explanation that points out sentencing limitations in the federal Horse Protection Act.

“While the government is cognizant of and shares the sentiments of the public outcry and desire to see significant jail time imposed on violators … the sad reality is that the law passed by Congress does not possess significant teeth” to incarcerate former Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McConnell, according to a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday.

Neff is seeking a maximum probation period for McConnell — five years. And during that time he asks that the judge prohibit McConnell from owning, exhibiting, selling, transporting, working with or training horses, or even assisting in the training of horses.

“The one area of this case in which the court can promote respect for the law is in the arena of financial penalties. The court has the ability to impose an extensive fine under the statutory scheme — up to $250,000 — and the United States urges the court to exercise its authority in this area to the utmost,” Neff wrote.

McConnell, whose total net worth is more than $2.2 million, according to court documents, was to be sentenced Monday. But last week U.S. District Judge Harry S. “Sandy” Mattice moved the sentencing to Sept. 18.

Continue reading at Chattanooga Times Free Press >>

>> Sentencing Memorandum, pdf. You can view the Sentencing Memorandum without downloading the pdf at the CTFP link above.

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